An Overlander's Thanksgiving

For the first half of our trip we felt a bit… lonely. We had expected to meet other cool overlanders all the time and have awesome caravans to remote beaches/mountains and raucous overlander parties with good wine and early bed times (because overlanders no how to party hard, the go to bed at a reasonable hour)! But it wasn’t until we hit Guatemala that this started to be the case. Now we meet up with people all the time whether on purpose or by happy accident and have barely spent a night alone since returning to Costa Rica in October. This was especially nice as we celebrated Thanksgiving in Cartagena surrounded by 14 other amazing travelers and shared a day I will never forget.

The week leading up to Thanksgiving, was a mixed bag of awesome and frustrating experiences. We arrived in Cartagena after our 5am flight out of Panama City, and an almost missed connection in Bogotá, to a hot sweaty day on the Caribbean. We explored a little until our Airbnb was ready and then settled in to the AC filled apartment with a couple pizzas and no more intentions for the day other than to watch all of season 2 of Better Call Saul on Netflix.


Day 2 we had high hopes of visiting more of the city, but torrential downpours kept us mostly home bound. Unfortunately, the rain made it inside our nice little apartment through a broken window creating a lago pequeño in our kitchen. We emailed our host and found out no one would be able to fix the problem or bring us more towels until tomorrow because they couldn’t get to us in the rain - like rain in this part of the world doesn’t happen every day for 6 months so of course you would be unprepared - though he did inform us where we could find a mop in the closet. When the rain finally cleared up, KP took me out for a fancy steak dinner, complete with a bottle of Chilean wine, for the whopping price of $44! After a month of Costa Rican and Panamanean prices, we were so excited to find out Colombia would only get cheaper as we left Cartagena! Only problem with our dinner was convincing our very sweet waitress that we did not in fact need an ice bucket for our RED wine. It might make us snobs, but this is a “South of the Border” quirk we have a hard time getting past.


The last day before KP embarked on the truck rescuing saga was spent finally exploring the city and especially the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, a fortress that used to stand as a strategic point of protection from both land and sea for the city of Cartagena. Then we ate my new favorite street food “steak on a stick” with fellow overlander friends Tim and Liz. All in all, that’s a good day in my book. Oh and we did Zumba with about 50 other people, locals and travelers alike. Thanks Tim for getting this gem of a video below, you’ll notice us right away I believe…


After finding out that the process for getting our truck out of its container and officially into Colombia, would require $25 per person for “death and dismemberment” insurance we decided that it was a one-person job. Not because I was worried about death or dismemberment, but because we are cheap… you could buy almost 25 sticks of steak for that! Up to this point we had been a team through every border, check point, and shady police stop, but we knew this process would be long and tedious, and having both of us there was unnecessary. So I stayed home and watched Netflix while KP sweated his way through day 1 and then rushed back in time to make our salsa lesson! Colombia has a vibrant salsa scene and we knew that if we wanted to get in on any of that action, then we would have to take a couple lessons. Day 2 KP left bright and early to (fingers crossed) complete the process of getting our truck out of the port and hopefully return with all his limbs. I ventured out for insurance, a new phone card and a quick stop at the mall for new shoes. At home this may be a 2 hour process considering I walked 15 minutes each way to get there, but in Latin America this takes pretty much your whole day. We achieved success on both fronts by about 4pm, dropped the truck off in a parking lot as we finished off our time in our Airbnb, and then met up with our shipping partners to celebrate our mutual success!

Thanksgiving, as it should always be, was an all-day affair! We started the day doing our shopping, a luxury you can only do if you are the only people celebrating the holiday in the whole city, and then settled in to our new home at Megan and Nick of THE LONG CRUISE’s spacious Airbnb. A total of 16 people came together for good food, incredible stories, a round of “what are you thankful for,” and desserts on the roof top patio. It was an incredible day and the best way we could have dreamed of to spend this day while away from home! Happy Thanksgiving!